Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Plot 18 06/04/10: Late planting potatoes this year

Normally our first and second early potatoes would be in the ground and we would be contemplating planting the main-crop seed, but the weather this year has been so wet and cold that the  soil is still very cold and very wet. Under those circumstances if we planted potato seed it would make little progress, and may well just rot away. Two of the allotment holders on our site are chancing their arm and planted their earlies mid-March, but we, and all the other allotmenteers have decided to wait for the right conditions.

The potato is a native of South America and is a tropical or semi-tropical plant. It cannot tolerate frosty conditions and needs a warm soil to enable growth to take place. Looking at the weather forecast for the next ten days we feel that we may start the planting next weekend, as we will have enjoyed almost a week with reasonable spring temperatures and little rain.

We will probably then wait a couple of weeks before planting the main-crop potatoes, which this year are Sarpo Mira, a variety with blight resistance properties. The damp, cool summers of the last three years have meant that blight has been a problem for the main-crop each year, although the first and second earlies have been lifted before the problem starts.

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